Studded with islands, fringed by mountains and set aglow by spectacular sunsets, this inland sea has a rare solitary beauty. With the damming of the Zambezi River in the 1950’s and the subsequent flooding of the Zambezi Valley, Lake Kariba was formed. Today, Kariba is a haven for animals, birds, fish and people seeking recreation on its shores and waters.
A number of wildlife sanctuaries surround the shore, with Matusadona National Park being the finest. Here the visitor will find large herds of elephant, buffalo and hippo. The skeleton remains of flooded trees, the vivid sunrises and sunsets and the wildlife make Lake Kariba an interesting and unique place to visit.
By Road: Kazungula is a small border post settlement in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe close to Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. Just to the west is the Botswana border village of Kazungula, from where there is a ferry service for vehicles across the Zambezi River to the town in Zambia also called Kazungula.
Kazungula is linked by a tarred road to Victoria Falls, 70 km east.
By Air: Harare International Airport is located 15kilometres south of Harare City, the capital of Zimbabwe. It is the main gateway into Zimbabwe and alternate entry point into Central and Southern Africa. The runway is 4725 metres long and 46 metres wide
Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport is located 20 kilometres east of Bulawayo, the second largest city in Zimbabwe. Renamed after one of the founders of Zimbabwe Dr J M Nkomo, the airport is the gateway to the City of Kings and Queens as well as to world heritage sites Khami Ruins (ancient architecture) and Matobo Hills (bold beads). It also caters for regional traffic. The runway is 2588 metres long and 45 metres wide. The airport operates 24 hours per day.
Victoria Falls Airport is located 21 kilometres from the Victoria Falls Town Centre. It provides direct access to the Seventh Natural Wonder of the World and Heritage Site Mosi-oa-Tunya on the River Zambezi, also known as the magnificent Victoria Falls. The runway is 2286 metres long and 30 metres wide. The airport operates 12 hours per day.
Lake Kariba is a tremendous wildlife experience. Gamefish, particularly tigerfish, which was among the indigenous species of the Zambezi river system, now thrive on kapenta, a small species of sardine-like fish that was introduced into the lake as a commercial fishery venture. Fish eagle, cormorant and other water birds frequently visit the shorelines. Elephant, crocodile and hippo are also commonly seen.
Game viewing on foot or by safari vehicle is offered around the lake by several operators, and is sometimes included in the price of a fully serviced houseboat. Often, so too is fishing, all meals and access to small launching craft. African DarterThe lake has numerous dead trees which still protrude above the water from the spot where they once flourished.
This has given rise to the petrified forest which some find a little spooky and boaters are wary of. However, many find this forest of stone trees interesting. The stumps provide convenient perch for the African fish eagle whose distinctive, haunting cry is often heard in the area.
The area generally has very hot summers, averaging 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit), and an average rainfall of 660 millimetres. The winters are usually warm with an average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). Wintertime, from April to August, is the best time to go to Kariba.